Joan’s Hill Farm, Woolhope
"Each year the floral display seems to be more and more spectacular."
- Joe Costley, Reserves Manager, Plantlife
A combination of factors make Joan’s Hill an outstanding site: its wonderful setting in the tranquil Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, its rich and colourful meadow flora, the way Haugh Wood (an ancient broadleaved woodland) encloses and integrates with the meadow and the nearby presence of lovely traditional English rural features, such as an old orchard and a “black and white” farmhouse.
Management of the nature reserve includes hay cutting in late summer - usually after the first two weeks of July - followed by cattle grazing in the autumn.
How to get there
From Hereford, take the B4224 towards Fownhope. On reaching Mordiford (approximately 4 miles outside Hereford) take the left turn immediately after the The Moon Inn, signposted to Woolhope.
Follow this narrow, winding road for approximately 1½ miles before turning left into Haugh Wood car park and picnic site.
The reserve is ¾ mile walk from the car park and is reached by walking northwards along the woodland ride leading off from the north east corner of the car park. You will reach a 'cross-roads' in the woodland rides. Here you should go straight ahead and follow the track downhill to a T-Junction. Turn left at the T-junction. The gate to Joan's Hill Farm is a further 200m along this track.
The nearest train station is Hereford which is 6 miles from the reserve.
Species to spot
Best time to see: May
The jester-like motley of its green and purple flowers gives this orchid its scientific name: morio, meaning 'fool'. It can sometimes be confused with the early-purple orchid but does not have spots on its leaves.
Best time to see: June - Sept
A thistle-like plant also known as 'black knapweed', although its flowers are actually bright pink. It is a popular source of nectar for the Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Peacock, Painted Lady and many other butterflies.